Delhi:The growing digital payments market, global payment solution major Mastercard is planning to empower 10 million merchants across the country with digital payment acceptance infrastructure by 2020. The firm, which has announced an investment of $1 billion (Rs 7,000 crore) in India over the next five years, on Thursday also said it expected the existing headcount to double from 2,000 to 4,000 during that period in the country.There has been an increase from 1.2 million merchant acceptance points in 2016 to about 5.2 million merchants currently, paving a growing opportunity for digital payments in tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well. “The commitment is to raise the acceptance of digital payments among merchants which require three critical things such as education and awareness, development of low-cost acceptance solutions and merchant onboarding via accelerator programmes,” Rajeev Kumar, senior vice-president for market development, South Asia, Mastercard, said. The company is joining hands with fintech companies, payments facilitators, industry bodies, acquirers and regulators for the same. According to him, the user base is 991 million cards in India which include both debit and credit cards. However, with the rise in number of connected devices, there is an opportunity to protect the digital payments ecosystem. Mastercard is working with partners to develop and implement technologies, processes and expertise that prevent, detect and resolve threats.The payment company has planned an investment of $1 billion over the next five years in India, in addition to its earlier investment of 1 billion between 2014-19. A significant part of this investment will go towards establishing a full on-soil domestic transactions processing centre in and for India.Another part of the investment will be directed towards building a services hub in Pune which will be focused on developing and delivering other value-added services such as authentication, tokenisation, cyber security and intelligence solutions and data analytics. “This is a significant investment in technical capabilities which will allow processing of domestic transactions in India, and also provide the potential for the co-design and co-development of such services and solutions locally, in collaboration with global teams, with additional potential for deployment outside India.Mastercard has also worked with the Confederation of all India Traders’ 70 million merchants and traders to enhance awareness and adoption of digital payments.